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Home Wiring: Top Tips on What to Look for In a New Home

Home Wiring: Top Tips on What to Look for In a New Home

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April 16, 2010

If you're looking for a new home, you know that home buying is exciting and stressful in equal measures. A property purchase might be the largest investment you ever make, so it is important to invest wisely. One advantage of buying a newly built property is that the wiring should meet the electrical, communication, and entertainment needs of today's lifestyles, as well as being adaptable to future developments.

Before buying a new home, ask for details of the home wiring infrastructure.

  • Wiring configuration. "Daisy-chain" wiring, where the wiring is run from one room to the next, is not appropriate for modern home wiring. All outlets should be wired directly from a centrally located structured wiring box.
  • Electrical wiring coverage. Check how many electrical outlets the property has and where they are located.
  • Surge protection. New homes should have a whole house surge protection network that includes transient voltage surge suppression (TVSS) devices at the service entrance as well as point-of-use TVSS devices located behind major appliances, PCs, and entertainment centers. This is critical to prevent damage caused by surges in power such as those from lightning or from a faulty component on the circuit.
  • Home telephone wiring. Each telephone outlet should be connected to the central panel by a unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. All telephone wiring should be Category 5e (Cat5e) cable comprised of 4 twisted pairs of "solid" copper cable. The structured wiring panel inside the house should be connected to the Demarc box outside the property by a Cat5e cable. Each telephone outlet should be connected to the structured wiring panel with a 4-pair Cat5e cable.
  • Home data wiring. A modern home needs a local area network (LAN), which enables all computers in the network to share other devices such as a printer, and allows data to be stored centrally so that each workstation does not necessarily need its own hard disk, and stored data and application packages can be retrieved from any workstation. Wireless offers convenience but does not have the same level of speed, security, or reliability offered by wired home data networks.
  • Video distribution. Any TV source should be viewable in any room of the house. RG6 coaxial cable should connect all video sources to the central structured wiring panel and two RG6 cables should connect to each TV location. TV and Internet outlets should also be available at the video locations to allow for pay-per-view or other services.

Remember, even if you do not have a high-tech lifestyle, you may want to sell your home one day. Having a full structured wiring package makes your home much more marketable in the future because the home wiring can be adapted to incorporate new technologies with minimal disruption.

About the author: Karin has worked as a freelancer for over ten years, writing informatively about a wide range of subjects. She has a PhD and a background in education and research.
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